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Sleep is for the Weak

Image: m_bartosch /

After reading  Jane’s blog yesterday at Northern Mummy with Southern Children about the 7pm bedtime routing beginning to change, I had to laugh as I saw it at about 10pm, while I was trying very hard to ignore the 2 reprobate children who were still wandering the house looking for snacks and drinks.

I can’t remember how or where it started to deteriorate.  The boys have never been good sleepers and one is up with the sun and goes to bed with the sun.  In summer, he sleeps for about 4 hours a night.

It was a very fast progression, this bedtime lark.

Within a few short months, peace and tranquility at night-time  had gone.  To clarify, in my humble estimation, peace and tranquility is only broken if more than one child spends upwards of an hour or more screaming their heads off at bed time.

The deterioration of the bedtime routine clashed with the onset of cot side climbing and big boy beds.  Overnight, the children constrained by cot sides found the freedom that they had longed for.  No longer were we able to keep them from moving.

In middlers case, the next step was to move a child gate to the door of his bedroom to give him that little extra room to manoeuvre, without being let loose on the world at a moments notice and without anyone watching his back.   I thought I was so clever with that little trick  and congratulated myself on my cleverness with smug smiles to all.

Smugness laughed in my face as within a week or two, middler had managed to learn to climb over the gate.   Red raw eyes over the next few weeks of staying awake and outside his door to stop him heading off in the middle of the night made me look as if I had a huge vino habit.

Smugness reappeared when I found a dog gate in Argos that looked the same as the child gate, only much taller, and the red-eyed eyed witch disappeared as sleep came back to the mum of the house.

All too soon, the returned smugness evaporated when he realised he could throw a wobbly, lob a huge kick in the direction of the gate and it would fly off the door in a testament to his strength and ability to grab the fleeting tastes of freedom that he had managed to acquire before.

Elder and littlest get tablets to help them sleep.  It must be something that runs in their birth family.  This permanently awake condition is totally alien to me.    I was the poster child for the long lie campaign as I only ever wanted to get up out of my cosy little pit when I had to.

To this day, I still need three alarm clocks set to get me up, yet the slightest whimper from a child usually wakes me (oxymoron I know).  I do say usually as I sometimes sleep through all madness with oblivion.   There are only so many waking hours that a sane person can survive on (who said I was sane).

My boys are fast approaching the teenage years, and with so little sleep in their lives so far, I can’t help but think that they are going to grow up into insomniac nightwalkers, destined to walk the streets at night.  My paranoia knows no bounds !!

I have long given up the fight for bedtime as it is impossible to make someone sleep if they don’t ever feel tired.    The tablets are wonderful when they work and if I catch the odd glimpse of a yawn, I take that as my excuse to race to kitchen, fill up a pint glass full of milk to help tip the almost sleeper over the edge with a full belly.

They say Margaret Thatcher only ever got 5 – 6 hours sleep a night and since she was dubbed the “iron lady,”  I guess that really means that sleep is for the weak, and the rest of us are chicken lily livered sleep loving bedaholics.


8 thoughts on “Sleep is for the Weak

  1. I admit defeat around about beginning of May and totally give up on the idea of kids being in bed before 9am. However, when those lovely clocks change I go full throtle for the 8pm bedtime, I just silently slip it forward an hour and hope that they don’t notice.

    It is hard though, as that “I can’t sleep” hour is the one hour that we usually get to sit down (semi awake) and relax with hubby/partner and remember that you’re a couple as well as parents.

  2. Max has started to figure out the almighty kick move now too… on the dog gate. Our bedtimes have moved from 6.30/7pm to about 8pm for now… So long as he stays happyhyper during the day (he’s been strangely Happy and Excited since I managed to get him to sit to get his hair cut last week) he’s usually ok for going to sleep initially, thanks to melatonin and our rigid bedtime routine. I have a feeling that once his speech finally develops enough for arguing it’ll get a lot harder though. >_<

    1. The kick move is such an eye opener. Cracked my rib once. Thankfully he didn’t mean it, but still, I’m sure the doctors still thinks to this day that the hub had done it.

      1. Wondering why your avatar is showing up, but nobody elses is, including mine 🙁 Is yours the gravatar today? Suspect I’ve managed to switch avatars off when I was tinkering earlier.

  3. Sleep is but a moment in time.

    1. I’m not quite sure what you mean, and thank you for the comment.

  4. I have two with ADHD and they never seem to sleep. I keep hoping that it will change and I keep trying to put a bedtime routine in place.

    1. So many with ADHD / Autism / Learning Difficulties who struggle to sleep. Tough going.

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